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MAKING THE SWITCH - From Apple to Adobe via a Windows 7 PC

By Jeremiah Hall

Years ago I bought a Macintosh. It was blue, white, and had this new thing called a firewire port. And the software I bought to edit with? Adobe Premiere.

But fortunes change. Adobe had to abandon Premiere for Mac, so I switched to Final Cut Express nearly a decade ago. Then I upgraded to Final Cut Pro. Then the aging G3 turned into a G4. Then finally a G5. And Final Cut Pro. . . er, Final Cut Studio, followed me wherever I cut.

Like so many people, I don't upgrade at the drop of a hat. I only do it when I need to. So as I was saving my pennies to purchase a new Mac Pro (the G5 getting long in the tooth), Apple dropped a bomb - Final Cut X.

I was excited... until it came out. I discovered that two of the things that I do with with Final Cut Studio, namely importing Photoshop layers and the wonder that was DVD Studio Pro, were no more. I would have liked to use Color, but didn't have the machine for it. I never liked Motion, and always preferred After Effects.

So I could always just reload FCS on a new machine, right? Not really. Apple pulled their updates for FCS when they released FCX. [Note: It's been strongly hinted that Apple will allow sales of Final Cut Studio 2009.]


Now what do I do?

I was working on a DVD for a client when I looked down at the computer, my aging G5. I thought about what Apple was building computers with, and what differences there were between a new Mac Pro and, for instance, a new Dell, Asus, or Lenovo. I looked at the open window on my screen - Adobe Photoshop. What else do I use? Adobe After Effects, Final Draft and Lightwave. Final Draft and Lightwave come out of the box with both PC and Mac versions on the disc, so no need to switch them. Just take them off the old and install them to the new. Then I formulated a plan.

I went to a large-box retailer and bought a six-core computer with eight gigs of memory, and a terabyte drive. I also picked up a firewire card and a new video card (Adobe keeps a list on their website of Cuda-enabled video cards tested with their software). Monitors I've already got, so I don't need to spend money there. Eight gigs of RAM will do me just fine for awhile, so I'll wait until I need more memory (i.e., when it goes on sale). My firewire drives will plug in the same, so I don't need new ones. I can even take the extra SATA drive from my old Mac and put it in the new machine. Total price, under 800.00.

Next it was time for software. Adobe makes it easy. CS5 Production Premium is usually a $1700.00 bundle. Adobe is making it easy for people who want to get away from FCX by cutting the price on the bundle by 50%. So, for $850.00 you get Premiere Pro CS5.5, After Effects CS5.5, Photoshop CS5 Extended, Audition CS5.5, Flash Catalyst CS5.5, Flash Professional CS5.5, Illustrator CS5, Adobe OnLocation CS5, Encore CS5, Device Central CS5.5, Bridge CS5, and Media Encoder CS5.5.

My total for an editing system with software was around $1600.00 after tax. The price of a Mac Pro alone is $2500.00, not including sales tax.


Here's the dirty little secret: video editing apps do basically the same things; it's just a matter of finding the buttons. Arguments about the merits of one piece of software over another is as ridiculous as a Chevy Guy and a Ford Guy having an argument about which is better. They both get you down the road. You just have to learn where the windshield wiper switch is.

Without reading manuals, I dumped footage into Premiere in the same amount of time it would have taken in FCP. I cut it, added some effects (which rendered beautifully in the background) and dumped it out to tape. The client was happy, and never once looked at the computer and said, "This is Premiere. I want Final Cut Pro."

I already used Photoshop and After Effects. I still need to make full-featured DVDs for some of my clients. I know Apple wants to believe DVDs are dead, but out here in the real world people still use them. Who wants to stream a wedding video, anyway? I am looking forward to Encore and Audition; they seem to be very capable replacements for Soundtrack and DVD Studio Pro. Plus, I now have Flash for quickly putting together animations to dump into my Premiere project. And Illustrator. And everything plays well together, going from Premiere to After Effects to Photoshop, etc. Media Encoder ran like a dream. I quickly made the client a copy of their video for web distribution, as well as the DVD they wanted.


I have so many OSes in my home now, one more doesn't make a difference. I've got OS X on my old Mac, iOS on my iPad (which I'm writing this on now), XP on an old netbook and Vista on my wife's laptop. I never cared much for XP. I like Windows 7; It is as easy to manage as OS X.


Some of my video friends think I'm crazy moving away from Apple (he said as he typed on an iPad). Others question why I didn't move to Avid (why not? Photoshop and After Effects are in the bundle). I still want to learn FCX, and will continue reading about it (shameless plug - check out my cohort-in-crime Heath McKnight's excellent articles on FCP X at www.heathmcknight.com). I know how to edit with Avid. A videographer needs to know as many tools as time allows for. I already use Photoshop and After Effects on a daily basis. Adding Premiere back into the mix felt like welcoming back an old friend.

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Jeremiah Hall has been a writer, videographer, editor, journalist and filmmaker for over 14 years.

He has worked across the midwest and southeast for several news organizations.

Currently, he resides in Cincinnati, OH with his family, and is developing a feature film to direct.

Related Keywords:Video Editing, FCP, FCP X, Final Cut X, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop, After Effects, Final Cut Studio, FInal Cut Pro

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